An AmSpecBlog commenter has pointed out a recently uploaded YouTube clip of Fred Thompson expressing his views on abortion in what I assume* to be a 1994 U.S. Senate debate. Because his historical views on abortion have been the subject of a lot of discussion on this blog, I decided to transcribe his remarks in full:
THOMPSON: I do not believe that the federal government ought to be involved in that process. I think that we should not have federal funding for abortion. I think that states ought to be able to have reasonable controls over that in terms of parental notification, which I believe my opponent has opposed in times past. As far as notice requirements and things like that are concerned, I believe those are reasonable. I think that when you get right down to the question you posed: should a government come in and criminalize let’s say a young girl and her parents and her doctor, which as aiders and abeters that would be involved? I think not. I think that problem is going to be ultimately resolved, and I think favorably, in the hearts and minds and communities and families across America. We’re learning more about it, and what it does to women and so forth. And I think that battle will be won, but it shouldn’t be a political football, and it shouldn’t be won in the courts.
If this is representative of the types of statements Thompson was making during the period in which he was considered pro-choice, I think he’ll be able to handle the abortion issue rather deftly. This is nowhere near as damaging as the clips that have surfaced of Mitt Romney in 1994 and 2002, and if anything, the clip shows Thompson has been a longtime advocate of federalism. Also, his statement that “we’re learning more about it” gives him wiggle room to say that he has become more pro-life over time (especially given his babies’ sonograms).
*I assume this video clip is from 1994 because Thompson is identified onscreen as a “U.S. Senate Candidate” rather than as a U.S. Senator, so this made me conclude that it had to be from his initial Senate run.